Two days before Christmas I read a very sad article in The New York Times. Sad for me as it came on the heels of the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, a conference during which it became so apparent that greed (hidden behind the words “development” and “growth”) had once again ruled the day.
In Senate Health Care Vote, New Partisan Vitriol, By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, Published: December 23, 2009
WASHINGTON — The vote on Monday, in the dead of night, was 60 to 40. The vote on Tuesday, just after daybreak, was 60 to 39. And the vote on Wednesday afternoon, at a civil hour but after less-than-civil debate, was 60 to 39 again — an immutable tally that showed Democrats unwavering in the march to adopt a far-reaching overhaul of the health care system over united Republican opposition.
The votes also marked something else: the culmination of more than a generation of partisan polarization of the American political system, and a precipitous decline in collegiality and collaboration in governing that seemed to move in inverse proportion to a rising influence of lobbying, money, the 24-hour news cycle and hostilities on talk shows and in the blogosphere.
How did we get to this point, where politics has eliminated any chance of people coming first? Once upon a time it was possible for both sides of the isle to work on critical issues such as equal rights (1960s) and the environment (1970s), uniting in a fashion that put the common good ahead of political turf wars. Crossing the isle was common.
That’s no longer the case, as Republicans and Democrats alike spend the majority of their time protecting their own self interests. A similar tone had enveloped Copenhagen, as many countries, both rich and poor, cried, “What about me?”, instead of pondering, “What about the planet?”
I had hoped that we would see an outpouring of compassionate, intelligent, well-meaning political leaders, both domestic and abroad, but my stocking was empty, again. The only thing I found was a note from Santa that simply said, “Better luck next year my friend.”
Are we seeing the end of honest government leadership? What are your thoughts?